One of the oldest texts in world literature was very probably written not by a man but by a woman, according to new research findings by scientists in munich.
"For experts this is a small sensation", the ludwig-maximilians-universitat (LMU) munich announced on thursday. The text is the so-called gula hymn, one of the most important literary texts from ancient mesopotamia dating from around 1300 b.C.
The hymn from the ancient orient no longer exists in the original, but is known only from later copies, as the university announced. In these manuscripts, the author’s name bullussa-rabi is preceded by the sign for masculine, which means that the author is supposed to have been a man. But ancient orientalists at LMU have now found out that this was probably a mistake.
They stumble upon the name bullussa-rabi in nine administrative documents – and are surprised. "In all the documents, bullussa-rabi is a woman’s name," said enrique jimenez, professor at the institute of assyriology and hethitology at LMU, according to the release. "Apparently only women carried this name at that time."
In his opinion, this could not be the only case in which women were overlooked as authors of early literary texts. "Our main source for authors is a list from the library of assurbanipal, the so-called "catalog of texts and authors", he said. "If bullussa-rabi was wrongly listed there as a man, why should she be the only case?"